Premier League slap transfer ban on Pompey

LONDON: England's Premier League announced Wednesday they had placed a transfer embargo on basement club Portsmouth.

The ban means the south coast club will not be able to bring any new players to Fratton Park until further notice.

Premier League spokesman Dan Johnson said: "We can confirm that there is an embargo on Portsmouth registering any new players."

However, Portsmouth's communications director, Gary Double, was optimistic the embargo would be lifted in the near future.

"This concerns unpaid money to other clubs and it is in the process of being sorted," Double said. "We are confident the situation will be sorted by the end of the week."

It is understood the transfers involved concern Glen Johnson's move from Chelsea in August 2007 and the arrival of Lassana Diarra from Arsenal in January 2008.

Both players have since left Fratton Park, Diarra joining Spanish giants Real Madrid and Johnson heading off to Liverpool.

No professional club can sign a player on a full-time basis outside of the transfer 'windows' sanctioned by world governing body FIFA. The next window is in January.

The ban was announced just 24 hours after Portsmouth won against top-flight opposition at Fratton Park for the first time this season, beating Stoke City 4-0 to reach the quarter-finals of the English League Cup.

That victory was a rare highlight for Portsmouth, who have been beset by off-field problems all season to set alongside their poor form.

Earlier this month, British revenue authorities announced that Portsmouth chief executive Peter Storrie was set to be prosecuted over tax evasion charges relating to the transfer of midfielder Amdy Faye from French club Auxerre for 1.5 million pounds (2.49 million dollars) in August 2003.

Portsmouth have had two owners in a matter of months after Sulaiman Al-Fahim, who only took over in August, sold a majority stake to Saudi businessman Ali Al-Faraj on October 6 after failing to pay the players' September wages.

Al-Faraj was reported to have supplied the five million pounds bridging loan needed to pay the wages of club staff.

Portsmouth are the second Premier League club this season to be given a transfer ban.

Chelsea were barred by FIFA from making any new signings during the next two transfer windows after officials ruled they had induced teenager Gael Kakuta to breach his contract with French club Lens two years ago.